Build Relationships First: How to Sell on Social Media

UPDATED: February 1, 2024
PUBLISHED: September 7, 2021
Build Relationships First: How to Sell on Social Media

This week’s guest on SUCCESS Line is an action taker. After my original guest fell through due to illness, Sammy responded to my call on Instagram for a spontaneous free coaching session on the podcast. I so appreciate anyone willing to dive in and put themselves out there for the sake of personal development, and Sammy did just that. 

Sammy is a 26-year-old millennial who just left corporate America to pursue his side hustles, and he is doing almost everything right. He’s podcasting, using social media and building his private coaching clients. However, the money, followers and clients are not yet flowing in. He wants to know how to more effectively funnel all three elements—his podcast, social media and coaching—into each other. 

In our conversation, we focused on social media. In my opinion, that’s one of the most valuable funnels available. And although Sammy is a millennial and quite literate with social media, there is so much more to selling on it than we might think. If you’ve ever found social media a hard nut to crack, read on for the top three tips that are fundamental to the success of any entrepreneur or selling on social media. 

1. Create fans first, customers later. 

The power of digital marketing is undeniable, but it is important to have the right mindset about it. You can’t think about online marketing as a way to reach into people’s pockets and steal their credit card—people can sense that. You won’t feel good about it, they won’t feel good about it and it just doesn’t work.

You need to think of it as building trust. Focus on building fans more than on building customers. Focus on adding real, tangible value to your followers’ lives. People need to know, like and trust you before they will ever buy anything from you. 

The wonderful thing about digital tools is that they are scalable—they allow you to automate trust as your business grows. But the only way to gain trust is to root your social media in adding value first.

2. Get people off the platforms and into your database. 

The goal of social media is not to move people from platform to platform to platform. Especially because, given the unpredictable nature of algorithms, each post you make is only shown to a fraction of the people you are trying to reach.

The last thing you want to do is create another obstacle for yourself by moving the few people who did see your post onto another platform. That is a lateral move—it brings them no closer to you and your business. You want to pull them toward you and into your database. This is how you take the trust you’ve been building through social media and accelerate it. Bring them into your database and a more intense experience with you—a one-hour training, a video series, etc. It doesn’t matter exactly what it is. What matters is that they raised their digital hand for more time with you. Once that happens, you can focus on providing more value faster, thus accelerating trust and accelerating an eventual sale. 

Don’t try to cross-pollinate on too many platforms. Get people off the platforms and into your database. Once they’re in your database, you are in control and are no longer at the mercy of a mysterious algorithm. 

3. The dollars are in the DMs.

Selling on social media is just like dating in real life. You wouldn’t walk up to a stranger and say, “Hey let’s get married!” But on social media, people think they can show up and immediately ask their followers to buy things from them. When that doesn’t work, they claim the platform isn’t worth it or the algorithm is against them. But it’s not the fault of the platform—the fault lies in their failure to build trust. It is because they have forgotten the fundamental, foundational truths of human psychology. You need to add value—to give before you get. 

Engage with people who comment on your posts and start building a relationship there. Then, move that conversation to the DMs where you can get to know them more intimately. Ask them, “What are your goals? What are you struggling with? What have you tried?” That then opens the door for you to offer to help them: “Did you know I help people with that? Would you like a free call to see if I can add value to your life and if we might be a fit to work together?” This is where the sale begins. 

Selling on social media is about relationship building. It takes time and it takes showing up. If you show up enough and provide real value, people will eventually come to you and ask you out on that first date.

The SUCCESS Line is no longer releasing new episodes on the SUCCESS Podcast Network, but you can still listen to the full conversation below.

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